Ferguson: “Scotty, There Is A Problem”

Ferguson fUSA Today wrote: “Nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012, according to the most recent accounts of justifiable homicide reported to the FBI.”  

I thought that could not be correct since it sounded like a lot of killings. The article did not give a reference to its source. I Googled the language in quotes and ended up finding many references to it but they either cited the initial USA Today article or just made the bold statement as if it is an accepted fact. I was getting nowhere.

It seemed it was becoming one that was being repeated more and more. I saw that today it was relied upon by Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson. He too only cited the USA article.

I felt a need to track it down. I finally found this for the period 2003 to 2009 which incorporates 4 of the 7 years of the time period set out in the USA Today article which I assume is 2006 to 2012.  The article is entitled: “Arrest-Related Deaths,2003-2009 – Statistical Tables” and is put out by the Department of Justice.

Now I felt I could verify the figure or show it was false. Over this seven (7) year period of that study (which I assume would not differ much from the period put out by USA Today since four (4) of the years correlate) there were 4,813 deaths of which 2,931 were classified as homicide by law enforcement.  The highest amount of such homicides was in 497 in 2009, the least was 375 in 2004. The yearly average is 418.

The racial makeup of those killed is white 41.7%. black 31.7%, Hispanic 20.3%, and other/unknown 6.4%.

It would appear that on average each year cops kill 174 whites, 132 blacks, and 85 Hispanics a week. What I have been unable to find is the race of the police officer who did the shooting. I believe most cops are white so I’ll not quibble with that statement that white cops are shooting blacks.

The idea that cops kill such a large number of people is striking. We never think of that many killings happening in the United States. I’ve posted here previously that there were too many without realizing how many actually were happening.

Almost 15 whites, 11 blacks and 7 blacks are killed every month by cops. I attributed it to too many cops growing up with video games. I hoped that there would be better training.

I went into the figures a little more. The population of the USA is 63.7% non-Hispanic White; 12.2% non-Hispanic Black; and 16.9% Hispanic. Assuming 300 million people, this would figure out to 190 million whites; 37 million blacks; and 51 million Hispanics.

Of the 37 million blacks the cops kill 132 or 1 for every 280,300 people. If the cops killed Hispanics at the same rate they would kill 182 Hispanics, 97 more than they do.

If the cops killed white Americans at the same rate as blacks, they would be killing 678 whites a year a whopping 500 more than are now being killed. In plain and simple language, the blacks are being killed by cops at a rate of more than five times that of whites.

I’m aware of the different statistical showings when it comes to the involvement in blacks and whites in crime and other cultural disparities. These would indicate to me that the confrontations between blacks and cops are more likely to occur than those of white. But to think of the great disparity in killings, that surely gives credence to a major problem in this country. Why have we been missing it for so long?


9 thoughts on “Ferguson: “Scotty, There Is A Problem”

  1. Henry and Matt: I’ve visited pals in those jails often and personally have been detained and put in almost all those stations, for some time, not longer than overnight. Youthful indiscretion, plenty of rum, and a hot Irish temper being the usual culprits. There is a major problem in the black community and many white urban, suburban and rural communities. It’s the bull in the china shop, the elephant in the room. DRUGS: The FEDs fail in their duty to prevent international drug trafficking; our streets are saturated with heroin, other narcotics, crack cocaine, white powders. Young men get guns to promote and protect the drug trade; kill each other in competition, get “wasted” or “high” on drugs and begin shooting each other and shooting and/or threatening the cops. The problem is young men on drugs or involved with drugs killing each other, neighbors, strangers, passersby and cops. THE PROBLEM is DRUGS. First, to the extent feasible (we’ve never really tried) eliminate hard drugs (international narcotics and crack and home-grown meth;) Second make all other pharmaceuticals (likely diverted drugs like OXYs) impossible to smoke or use intravenously (we have the Technical know how to do that); third Crack down on iatrogenically induced (physician dealers) m.d. transmitted drug distribution and diversion from the BIG PHARM and you’ll find the murder rates will plummet dramatically, and the need for cops to fire at civilians will plummet too. If Blacks are shot by cops at rates five times more than Whites, the statistic is meaningless if Blacks threaten/endanger others (innocent civilians, cops) at a rate that is five times greater than whites. The Sociological Problems will be redressed substantially when HARD DRUGS are eradicated as if they were TOXIC-HAZARDOUS ENVIRONMENTAL EMISSIONS/DISCHARGES, which they are. A blight on our communities, which unseen like smog, we leave unattended! We pretend it’s not there, until the next drug-related killing. Black Communities and White Communities suffer the scourge of drugs. (There are middle class black communities were the crime rate is no more than in middle class white communities; the sons and daughters of doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers, engineers and other professionals tend to commit crimes at the same rate regardless of racial or ethnic background.) Upper and MIddle class folks get addicted to drugs/alcohol, but don’t resort to armed robbery or murder to get or protect their supplies.

    1. William:

      True drugs are a big part of the problem but the cultures of the communities play an equally great role. Compare the Asian (where for many English is not their first tongue) and the black communities and see the great disparity in the achievement of each. Why is that so? Why can’t the blacks achieve as well as the Asians? That is the first question that must be answered.
      No one suggest all of the people in one culture are good or bad but do note the majority of it tend to go in one direction rather than the other. The decades of not looking at the horrible statistics in the black communities and trying to directly address them brings us to where we are today. You don’t solve problems by failing to recognize facts. It’s the black communities where the major problem resides and it is to that community efforts must be directed to find out why that is so. Implicating others will not assist in trying to better the problem.

  2. Matt: who woudda thought you would give me
    a lead in with beam me up Scotty
    First the back story.
    I grew up on the backside of Beacon Hill and went to school
    next door to the Joy Street Police Station
    My mom had a beauty shop on Charles Street and dated a bookie who operated
    out of the Red Hat Cafe next to the State Office Building in the
    Government Center
    John the Bookie had a partner named Sansone who owned the restaurant
    named Sansones in the North Station. I won’t bore you with stories of me seeing
    the payoffs made to Boston Police.
    I would remind you that in 1999 a MEMPHIS Jury determined Memphis Police Officer
    Earl Clark fired the rifle bullet that killed Martin Luther King in a conspiracy that involved the FBI
    Of course you and I want to believe it was a fluke when Jack Ruby got past the Dallas Police and shot Leww Harvey Oswald
    Down in the whisper stream the two phrases heard the most times in the Maine Woods this week are farsight institute visit their website
    a few years back I videotaped CIA trained remote viewer Colonel David Morehouse
    author of Psychic Warrior
    Last summer 2013 I interviewed comedian Dick Gregory
    Check out the talk he gave to Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth
    watch him here talk about 911


  3. Then again:

    Thus far this year … some 67 police officers have been killed in the line of duty; half of whom died by gunfire. Some were killed because they were cops, a form of bigotry that gets scant notice in the media. (http://www.nleomf.org/facts/research-bulletins/)

    A month prior to the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown, Officer Scott Patrick of Mendota Heights, Minnesota, was shot in the head and killed by a fugitive during a routine traffic stop on July 30. The suspect was a white male. Earlier, on July 13, Detective Melvin Santiago of Jersey City, New Jersey, was ambushed when responding to a robbery call. Suspect is a black male who was killed on the scene. The suspect’s wife allegedly said that more cops should have been killed. On July 6, Officer Jeffrey Westerfield of the Gary, Indiana police department responded to a domestic violence call and was ambushed, shot in his patrol car when he arrived. Suspect was a black male. On July 5, Officer Perry Renn of Indianapolis, Indiana, answered a call of shots being fired in the area and was shot as he arrived. Suspect was a black male.”

    1. Henry:

      The cops on the street know of the double danger in being armed with a firearm. First, they’ll use it and have a hell of a time after having done it with administrative leave and investigations etc., second, someone they encounter might take it from them and use it against them.

      If the cop from Ferguson is indicted, all the information that you mention and that is very relevant will not be know to a jury. But surely it is in the back of the mind of every cop on the street and it sometimes is the reason they act.

  4. One complaint that we frequently hear is that people are unjustifiably blaming blacks for crime. However, the increase in the use of video cameras shows that for many crimes, pursuing anybody other than a black would be unjustifiable because of the visible appearance of the perpetrator shown on the recorded video. One example would be the video of the strong arm robbery of the tobacco products from this Ferguson, Missouri store. If the police then pursue the perpetrator, and the outcome is a homicide by the police officer, then the statistic in question would be how many violently resisted arrest which resulted in homicide. If the ratios of violent resisters ending in homicide differed significantly based on race of the violent resistor within a police organization for the same level of violent resistamce, then we can question bias within that police organization. We have not seen this statistic demonstrated. Perhaps the implementation of personal video cameras worn by police officers that cannot be manipulated by individual officers will prove or disprove this conjecture.


    1. Ed:

      I agree. Just like from a percentage point of view more blacks are being killed by cops than whites; so also more crimes are being committed by them than whites. I just wanted to note in my post there is a big problem. I’m not saying it is because of the police since many of the killings have been ruled justifiable homicides. I’m suggesting that we recognize the problem and see if there is something that can be done about it other than rioting.

  5. But didn’t the President of the United States tell the police they were fighting “domestic terrorists?”

    I’m not at all blindly pro-police, having lived through years with Boston Stations 4, 6, 14 and 16.

    I’m sure the cop in the Brown case wishes things were different. The dead kid was an obvious thug, which doesn’t mean he should have been killed, of course. Had the “Asian” shopkeeper been killed, mostly everyone would feel sorry but they wouldn’t burn and loot.


    1. Henry:

      I confined my activities to stations 6, 11 and 19. I’m also not blindly pro-police having done my share of criticism of them in this blog.

      I agree with you totally. I’m not saying who is to blame for the problem since that is a much deeper question; all I’m suggesting is that there is a big problem. Had the thug killed the Asian shopkeeper we never would have heard about it since that is like a dog biting a man story. I just can’t get over the audacity of the guy to walk into the store, reach over the counter, and grab whatever he did and then threaten the Asian guy. What world does he come from?

      I’m sure the cop who shot Brown would love to have his bullets back even if he acted totally in self-defense which may have been the case. We seem to have too many cowardly politicians. Perhaps that’s nothing new.

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